Last week’s epic Little League game between Sunnyvale and Hollister was such a dramatic back-and-forth battle, there wasn’t even room to include some more color commentary on what ended up being Sunnvyale’s final win of its All Star season. The squad came up just short in the Section 5 tournament. The players could very easily still be playing considering they lost to the eventual Section 5 Champion Capitola-Soquel by scores of just 6-5 and 4-2.
Sunnyvale finished the season as District 44 Champions and Section 5 Runners Up. The team beat some tough competition at the district level, particularly in Santa Clara Westside and Campbell Little Leagues. Perhaps the biggest reason for the team’s success was the offensive depth in the lineup. In its final victory of the season on Monday, July 17, the big hit of the inning came from No. 10 hitter, Jonah Owara.
“It’s the thing about this team, he may be batting tenth, but everybody can bat from top to bottom, it’s how we built the team,” chimed Sunnyvale Manager Kevin McCray. “We knew with the continuous order that the criteria was that everyone has to be able to hit, because everyone is going to be in the lineup. No defensive specialists, everyone can hit.”
While there may not have been any defensive specialists on the Sunnyvale roster, the squad still came up with plenty of defensive gems. None more critical than Everett Tung throwing out the would-be go-ahead run at the plate to end the top of the fifth inning.
“When the ball was coming to me, I was thinking I gotta throw this home and I was just so glad it didn’t get by me on that one,” joked the Sunnyvale outfielder.
“Pretty much,” responded Tung on whether it felt like redemption for committing an error earlier in the game.
“Everett saved us right there,” chimed starting pitcher Connor Donohue, who pitched brilliantly and had just been lifted due to pitch count rules. “That was awesome. Everett was just in the zone right there.”
On that game-saving play, Sunnyvale catcher Tyler Owen was illegally run over with a shoulder to the chest but held onto the ball.
“At first I was surprised, I was definitely mad because I know Tyler as a friend and I know how that feels,” noted Donohue on seeing his batterymate get plowed over. “Plus, that’s not how we play baseball, and we are really big on trying to play baseball the right way.”
“No,” responded Owen if he ever expects a collision at the plate. “I’m always expecting them to slide, but once he dipped his shoulder I got really surprised and then I just fell to the ground, I was stunned, didn’t know what to do.”
Eventually, Owen got back to his feet and appeared to be barking towards the runner who hit him as he was being held back by teammate Jomo Albrecht.
“I did get mad, and I was [yelling],” confirmed Owen. “Definitely wasn’t PG.”
Certainly, hard to blame any Little League catcher for having a few choice words for an opponent who illegally delivers a hockey or football like hit. While the run wouldn’t have counted no matter what, Owen managed to hold onto the ball for an old school out at the plate.
“Tough kid,” praised McCray. “Tough catcher.”